460,000 hired to plant trees and clean rivers
By Anne Macharia
More than 460,000 young people have been recruited to plant trees and clean up rivers, Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu has disclosed.
Of these, 290,000 have been planting trees around the country, while 175,000 are involved in rehabilitating rivers in various projects to boost the forest cover and improve the environment.
In a report on the ministry’s achievements, Prof Wakunghu said 100 youth were recruited from the 290 constituencies to plant trees in the project ‘Green Growth Initiatives’. Urban rivers that have been rehabilitated are Sosiani, Kisat and Nanyuki rivers. One million trees have been planted along their banks.
“We (Kenya) have a 6.9 to 7.1 per cent forest cover. Our goal is to reach 10 per cent, and this means we plant billions, not millions, of trees,” says the CS.
Agroforestry and commercial tree farming are key in increasing the country’s tree cover, and Kenyans are encouraged to plant more trees as the country aims at attaining a 10 per cent tree cover, the report adds.
The ministry, Prof Wakhungu points out, has also rehabilitated 784,259 hectares of degraded natural forests in the five major water towers of Mt Kenya, the Aberdare Ranges, Mt Elgon, the Mau Complex and the Cherangani Hills.
To guard Kenya against poaching and continue protecting wildlife, the ministry has recruited 1,200 rangers. Prof Wakhungu says: “The recruitment is a major achievement, and a first for so many rangers to be recruited in such a short time.”
Poaching has reduced in the past two years, CS Wakhungu says, adding that the menace against the elephant and rhino has gone down by 46 and 41 per cent respectively.
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